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Lenaribka

Lenaribka

"We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate."

 

~Henry Miller

Currently reading

The Power of One
Humphrey Bower, Bryce Courtenay
The Romanov Mission
Robert Jackson
Goliath: A Thriller
Shawn Corridan, Gary Waid
Last Days of Summer
Steve Kluger

All the King's Men

All the King's Men - Alex Powell
Rounded up to 3 stars

I can divide this book into three parts, and THAT is less to do with the development of the story itself but with my personal feeling about it. I liked how it started, it was much better than I expected, and I enjoyed the ending.

The idea sounds very interesting: A little group of revolutionaries under the guidance of King meets each other regularly in the Cerebrum, a virtual reality network, to discuss their next mission. Their main activity is detecting secrets and make them public. No wonder that they have many enemies who rather see them dead. But it is not that easy: It is not enough to defeat a person in the mindnet, you have to get his BODY too, and it could be EVERYWHERE, where there is a link-in.
(For more information you can read the blurb or the book itself).



The first third of the book was pretty good and even if I didn't completely get how the Cerebrum worked, I found it very entertaining. My problems began as the story unfolded, actually with too many of private domain. It appeared like 10 times pro page. I started to lose interest. Had I been a gamer or a passionate science-fiction reader, maybe I could have enjoyed this world building more, who knows. But somewhere in the middle on the story it started to become a serious issue to me. I considered even to DNF. But I didn't want to start my new reading year with a DNF, it could be a bad Omen. So I forced myself to go on.

I'm actually glad that I finished it, because the ending was good, it switched from the Cerebrum to the RL. AND. I got my answers.

I think
1)I can better deal with such stories in form of movies (like Matrix), and
2) it is impossible to create a cyber world in a beautiful prose.
To make it REAL an author has to use THIS special language, and it is not my cuppa.



**Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel - Amor Towles
Reading pleasure pure.
Awesome, beautiful, memorable, charming, delightful, EXQUISITE.



1915


1936


1947


1959

2016 on Goodreads

2016 on Goodreads - Various
2016 on Goodreads:

Books: 3 stars. In spite of some great reads this year, I have many DNF books.

Communication: 3 stars. Not so many exciting discussions in 2016.

GR: 1 star.

Aside from my reading pleasure, I have to give this year 1,5 stars. Because of the new home page on GR. I am still angry and I'm still hoping that GR would change it. Well, what can I say, I try to be an optimist.

I lost some friends, those who, inter alia, left/or nearly left this community BECAUSE of the new home page.

I was less active here by myself. BECAUSE of the new home page, that is everything but user-friendly. And it isn't THAT fun anymore to be here. It is very pity somehow, because I always enjoyed being here.




Whiteout (Seasons of Love) (Volume 1)

Whiteout (Seasons of Love) (Volume 1) - Elyse Springer
I don't think that in our RL we very often have to deal with amnesia, but it seems to be a very popular topic in books, especially in romance books. I personally don't LIKE the stories where a couple has to prove to themselves that their INITIAL choice, the choice they made BEFORE whatever caused whosever's memory loss, was the right one. We love people not because they are sexy and have a good body, beautiful eyes or cute dimples, but because they are part of our memories and, thus, of our lives. What remains if all these memories are gone? But I don't plan to be that philosophical. Shortly: I can enjoy a novel with a light amnesia. And here we have a nice LIGHT amnesia case.

[b:Whiteout|32195634|Whiteout (Seasons of Love, #1)|Elyse Springer|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1476785017s/32195634.jpg|52837498] starts very slow. Noah Landers wakes up in a cabin of Colorado, in the middle of nowhere, with a headache, without knowing who he is and what's going on, and a very attractive stranger by his bed calls him baby. His name is Jason O’Reilly, and he is his partner, as he tells Noah later. They are here to celebrate their first Christmas together, and Noah slipped while shoveling snow and hit his head badly. That explains his memory loss.

And here is our starting point:

A heavy snowstorm that makes impossible for a doctor to come, and for Jason to bring Noah in the hospital.

An older sexy partner who rejects to give Noah any information about ANYTHING, because he follows the recommendations of the doctor, whom he contacts regularly via telephone, not to give too much away, and let the patient to remember everything on his own.

Noah, who starts to be suspicious. (Who won't?)

Jason who is overprotected and head over heels in love with Noah. The last one is difficult to oversee.


As I began to get bored with Jason's feeding and nursing Noah and his care treatments, Noah's memories started to come back, bit by bit. And from this point the story became MORE interesting and intriguing. The moment I thought I knew where it would go, it made suddenly an unexpected twist and went in a totally different from my presumption direction. And from this point its development increased the pace.

It is a nice love story, or better to say, a nice love tale. It kept my attention FROM this twist up to the very end. I have to commend the author for it. I'm also sure that this book/series will find a lot of fans.

My personal problems that prevent me from rating it higher:

The writing. I find it not good enough for giving this novel more stars.

The main characters. I have to admit, I wanted to know how their story would end, but I didn't really care about them. I think, it was the writing that didn't let me get closer to them. I didn't buy Jason's obsession with Noah. And I found the second characters also flat and boring.

One more reason for my rating: I'm not going to read more of this series. I am not interested in the persons that will appear in the next sequels. Maybe I'll try something else by this author in the future, but I'm not sure.


All in all: An interesting amnesia version, a sweet love tale, with a touching HEA, for all readers whose favorite genre is a Contemporary MM Romance.


***Copy provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***


Midland Club

Midland Club - Mark Spano 4,5 stars

This novel is a small jewel. It is like a hidden pearl that you won't see until you opened a shell. Maybe it is the reason why it stays unnoticed and unknown for the target audience. No I don't speak here about a broad audience, gay literary fiction as a genre doesn't have it, unfortunately.

I'm really surprised to find such beautifully and such unusually told historical mystery novel by a totally new for me author. I hope to see more fictional books from Mark Spano in the future.

Richard St.Pierre belongs to one of the wealthiest families of the Midwest, and 6 years ago he was also a member of the Midland Club, that meant that he was still part of his family and the city. But it was before the police raided the Miss Otis, a place where gays met. As a result - he lost his job, his family abandoned him and he never saw and talked to his father until his death. Now he lives in a black neighborhood, in a cheap apartment and spends most of his money on phonograph records, concerts, liquor and the pursuit of sex.

When Puce, the only black waiter at the Midland Club whom Richard knows since he was a boy, is found dead, the cops says it is suicide. But it is not what Richard believes, and as he tries to find the truth, he comes across the secrets that put his life in danger.

The best in this novel is not the story itself, and not the mystery, though I have to praise the author for a very accurate historical atmosphere he created - but HOW it is told. Midland Club is melancholic, lyric, flawlessly smooth and realistic.



I always emphasized that I'm a first person POV junkie. There are books that not necessarily have to be told from the first person pov. But it is impossible not to do it in [b:Midland Club|32768172|Midland Club|Mark Spano|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1482049358s/32768172.jpg|53362466] and Mark Spano does it masterfully. Richard doesn't ONLY try to reveal the truth at the risk of his own life, he tells about his family's history, about himself, people from the past and people around him, he shares his feelings, thoughts and memories and as the result we have an excellent piece of gay fiction of exceptional quality.

Highly recommended!


***ARC provided to Gay Book Reviews by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

Strange Mercy

Strange Mercy - Francis Gideon
Rounded up to 3 stars

This short novel is actually better than I expected.
It reminds me of many movies about a family that meets to celebrate Christmas.

For Bryan who lives in Montreal where he started his PhD in Musicology this Christmas holiday turns out to be a special one:

* The first time in his life his parents got him a hotel room over Christmas. There is just not enough place in the house for all family members who is coming this year for Christmas.

* He meets Jordan who works in the music store where Bryan jobbed during his high school years.
And a hotel room then happens to be not that bad idea.

Actually it is not a lot to tell about. Strange Mercy, like all Christmas stories, is about hopes, good mood, solving of all existing family's conflicts and understanding, and like all movies about Christmas celebration with a family, chaotic and partly loud, but of course with an inevitable HEA.



Nothing special, but a nice addition to your Christmas reading.


****Copy provided by Less Than Three Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Corpus: A gripping spy thriller to rival Fatherland

Corpus: A gripping spy thriller to rival Fatherland - Rory Clements
DNF at 22%

I know I can't blame the book. I can't even say if it is good written or has a good story.

It started okay, but then I had to read another book, and after that another one and...and when after a while I picked it up in hope to be able to read it further, I catched myself searching for an excuse to put it aside. So...well, it is not the book, it is because our bad-timing releationship has been most unfortunate.


****Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Embers

Embers - Kate Sherwood
Could Jericho Crewe have guessed that Mosely, a small town in Montana that he got the hell out when he was seventeen would become such a hotbed of crime fifteen years later?

Jericho:



The reasons that brought LA cop back in his home city were merely of private nature at the beginning, but very soon his stay becomes the part of the job. Kayla, his best friend years back and the local sheriff, needs someone whom he can trust to watch her back, and Jericho couldn’t say no.

In addition to the case of kidnapping & dirty feds & corrupted cops from the first book that hasn’t yet been completely solved, as if it were not enough, Jericho has to deal with a criminal biker gang, drug smuggling and on the top of everything – of course, Wade Granger and, as a result of the last, with his personal emotional chaos.

[b:Embers|32790609|Embers (Common Law, #2)|Kate Sherwood|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1477521576s/32790609.jpg|53383241], the second book of the series, didn’t disappoint me. It has EVERYTHING I loved already in the first book – an interesting mystery and a great chemistry between the MCs, and even a bit more.

What exactly makes this series so good, IMO:

The main characters. On the one side Wade – beautiful and sexy as God and criminal as HELL. Jericho, an exemplary officer of the law, incorruptible, uncompromising, unblemished on the other side. And between them – their past, their memories, many unanswered questions and a LOT OF SEXUAL TENSION.

Wade and Jericho are so DIFFERENT. Like night and day, like winter and summer, like ocean and desert. Like Wade and Jericho. They can be together probably ONLY if one of them decides to change the side. BUT is it possible at all?! And if YES, then WHO?! AND HOW?!

Wade is such a smart bad ass. It is fun to watch him playing games with Jericho. Don’t underestimate him, he is full of HIDDEN surprises.

Wade:



A deliciously s-l-o-w b-u-r-n. The book one- a KISS, the book two – a BJ. We are one step further. But we have not yet reached our destination.


And I want more!!!


***Copy provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Fair Chance

Fair Chance - Josh Lanyon

In many mystery series, a separate sequel presents a completed Story: at the end the case is solved, bad guys get what they deserve and the good-natured characters can sleep well until the next crime happens. Best with each other. It is why SOMETIMES you CAN skip one of the sequels.
But not HERE. You HAVE to read the previous books to understand Fair Chance immediately after I finished the second book in the series was not a smart idea. I need more variety in my books. Josh Lanyon , maybe one of those writers, who writes great stories, but also who doesn’t do experiments. What is not necessary a bad thing, why to change a formula, if it works perfectly. Maybe it was the reason why I had a bit slow start and why I paid more attention to the mystery itself and now I can tell you that...NO I WON'T.

The mystery was THRILLING, my NERVES! And the writing is, as always beautiful! And all these delicious details!...

I was drawn into the story, I suffered with! But…when I thought about it one day later, I was a bit confused. Really this person fooled all them? So easy?! And I, as an experienced mystery's reader, just ate it up without any complaints? To tell the truth, I HAD some complaints while reading, and even now and them an eye roll. But…well…who cared?

It is DAMN EXTREMELY entertaining and…*sight*…Tucker and Elliot are just IRRESISTIBLE!



****Copy provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

Gulliver Takes Five

Gulliver Takes Five - Justin Luke Zirilli
3,3 stars.

Audible

A sequel to [b:Gulliver Takes Manhattan|13578144|Gulliver Takes Manhattan|Justin Luke Zirilli|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1333559861s/13578144.jpg|19161448] that sheds light on the events that found place shortly BEFORE THAT fateful night in the life of Gulliver. (You have to read the first book to know what I mean.) [b:Gulliver Takes Five|16132946|Gulliver Takes Five|Justin Luke Zirilli|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1352753911s/16132946.jpg|21959432] actually helps to understand what went around at this time, we have 5 separates stories told from the point of view of the supportive characters. I enjoyed the story of Marty and Brayden, but not so much of the other three characters. Yes, unfortunately of Todd's one neither, even if I was looking forward to reading it, it is set as the last story in the book. Even if the main reason I picked up this sequel was a hope to get the answers on my questions about Todd's those situation, about his thoughts and motives at those night, but I didn't get them. :(

If you enjoyed the first book, you should read this one probably too, but you can also skip it, it won't make much difference. The writing though was very good, but I can't hide my disappointment because of Todd.


Ner Li

Ner Li - Mell Eight
If your date after a nice dinner together will ask you
"Do you want to stop by my place after dinner to light candles together?"


And he's Jewish, and it's Hanukkah, then be prepared- it's not a new seduction-technique, he really means THAT.



An educational insight into Jewish traditions, but nothing special about a romance here.


**Copy provided by Less Than Three Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Bite Night

Bite Night - Clare London


I think I enjoy my Christmas short novels, if they make me laugh out LOUD. Or at least make me smile.
I don't expect a big surprise from them, and it is almost impossible to make them unpredictable.
But it is also not THIS kind of books to rack your brain about the ending, right?

This one made me smile, more than once, and it is a good sign.
I'm not a big fan of a paranormal genre, but in a small dose I can cope with it pretty well.
And the idea of Santa called on this unusual trio - a vampire, a werewolf and a sprite- for the late shift, because the Union Chief-Elves and Gnomes Division called his workers out on strike and he himself can't visit everywhere on one night, can he? Think of logistics. (HOW CUTE IS THAT?!) Finally, someone has to bring kids their Christmas gifts!

To tell the truth, I don't remember why in one of the last houses that this hilarious trio entered, a sweet guy, Benny, who was babysitting, suddenly SAW them- they were supposed to be invisible for humans- but I don't care.

Benny oohed and aahed uninvited housebreakers, mostly of course Irwin, and didn't show not EVEN a tiny trace of angst, just the opposite, and went almost straight to the point...



Irwin was excited and I pleased.



The end.


*** Copy provided to Gay Book Reviews by the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

Driven to Distraction

Driven to Distraction - Cassie Decker
1,5 stars

This book is a perfect example for my avoiding all these calendar short novels during Advent season. I have an impression that publishers hold a contest who releases the most mediocre Christmas MM romance book on the market.

A short story doesn't mean a boring extended sex scene wrapped up in dull dialogues uttered by stereotypical characters.

Why it is about Christmas?

...because there were shimmery garlands draped everywhere, the rodeo clowns were all dressed as Santa, and even some of the horses had candy canes and snowflakes painted on their rumps.


And it is my favorite sentence from the whole novel.

Happy reading.




*** Copy provided to Gay Book Reviews by the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

First New Year's After the Apocalypse

First New Year's After the Apocalypse - Jessica Payseur

It is not this kind sweet Christmas story that smells of almonds, cinnamon and vanilla.
But is also not THAT apocalyptic as I thought it WOULD be. And it is good this way.



It is full of believe that bad times are always followed by better times.
It is full of anticipation and hope that EVERYTHING will be alright.



To review a short novel is always difficult, I don't want to retell the story, but only make you curious and read it by yourselves. It is different, and it is romantic, and it is worth to give it a try.

*** Copy provided to Gay Book Reviews by the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt Audible





BRILLIANT. EXQUISITE. FASCINATING. STUNNING.



«Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time. And I feel I have something very serious and urgent to say to you, my non-existent reader, and I feel I should say it as urgently as if I were standing in the room with you. That life—whatever else it is—is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch. For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time—so too has love. »


I feel overwhelming, speechless, dazzling...

I cannot stop thinking about HOW Theo's life could have been if

...his mother hadn't died in the explosion
...he hadn't put this bird into his bag
...he hadn't met Hobbie
...his father hadn't brought him to Las Vegas and hadn't died in the car accident (or was it a suicide?) later

...many many tiny and significant IFS...
But the biggest, the most important, the most fateful IF-

...IF HE HADN'T MET BORIS?


I love this book so much.

This fantastic review tells you everything I feel about this book, everything I wanted to say, but wasn't able to find the right words...

Heartifact

Heartifact - Aisling Mancy
I have mixed feeling about this book: I like the idea, but I wasn’t quite convinced with the plot’s development. I like the writing, but I wasn’t emotionally deeply connected to the characters.
On the one hand, I found it good that the story was short and quick-paced, on the other hand, exactly the length of the novel didn’t give enough space for more necessary details and didn’t permit its proper development, IMO.

Harper Kidd, a marine archeologist, is is frustrated with his current job and his ex makes his life even more difficult. The timing for an offer from Stick, one of the best ROV operators and his best friend, to join her on a deep-sea dig in the Mediterranean, couldn’t be better. To take part on a sea salvage expedition close to the Greek cost on a beautiful boat equipped with the best laboratories and equipment seems like the dream comes true to Harper.



At the same time as he accepts a new job, Harper starts having very erotic dreams about a strange man, an ancient god Pelora -it's how the stranger introduced himself. These dreams are very intense and very real, and it takes a while for the dream to fade and reality to return, when Harper awakes. When the crew finds the ruins of the ancient civilization with a statue of an ancient god pelora, Harper is excited and confused at the same time. Is there a connection between their discovery and his erotic dreams? When Dimitris, his Greek captain, explains Harper who perola is – an ancient god of questionable parentage that travels between fantasy and reality and commits a sin for every good deed he does – events start to unfold with a dizzying speed, and suddenly Harper has to make a choice…

I am not a big fan of sex scenes at the beginning of the book, except gay erotica what this book is not. I need normally more time to build an emotional connection to the MC before they fall upon each other. Otherwise it feels like a manual for gay sex.


The bottom line:

Beautifully written, an entertaining story-line that is too complex to be told within 88 pages, it needs more development in all directions.
It is one of those books where many sex scene didn’t make it better, just the opposite.
Though, I already mention, the idea is refreshing and interesting.


***ARC provided to Gay Book Reviews by the author in exchange for an honest review.***